Leon Leonwood Bean’s sturdy, weatherproof hunting shoe that first sold in 1912 led to a mega clothing and outdoor gear giant with regional outlets and a Freeport, Maine, flagship store open 365 days a year. L.L. Bean celebrates 100 years.
Wildlife displays, aquariums, massive showrooms, and a restaurant turn searching for hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear into a shopping safari at Cabela’s in Scarborough, Maine, and East Hartford, Conn.
BASS PRO SHOPS
Rival Bass Pro Shops are a sportsman’s delight. It’s festive Patriot Place Outdoor World store (above) features live fish feedings, an outdoor nature trail with cranberry bog, and indoor kids’ laser arcade. A Bridgeport, Conn., store is expected next year. www.basspro.com
EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS
Eastern Mountain Sports was founded by two rock climbers in 1967 in Wellesley. Now EMS stores across New England feature climbing schools, bike shops, rentals, travel offerings, plus equipment and clothing for activities like kiing, and paddling. www.ems.com
Seattle-based REI also contains a vast selection of clothing, shoes, outerwear, and accessories for camping, biking, and climbing combined with bike shops, ski shops, and rentals in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.